NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Crisis chaplains and first responders from around the country gathered in North Charleston Wednesday to share ideas about how to do their jobs better.
The Pastoral Crisis Intervention Conference is designed to help the folks in this room deal with anyone who is having a crisis.
Crisis chaplains played a huge role the night nine members of Emanuel AME Church were shot and killed.Confer
It was their job to try to comfort family members and the police officers, firefighters and paramedics who went to the scene.
"We learned a lot, it was a shame we had to learn it that way," Chaplain Bill Youngblood of the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy said.
Charlotte Anderson, a volunteer with the chaplaincy, says it takes a special person to be a chaplain.
"Comfortable with the awkward, ready to be uncomfortable, but comfortably respond to that."
While we were there, Chaplain Youngblood participated in a role playing exercise.
He played a paramedic who learned a child he had revived, died on the way to the hospital.
Mike McLaughlin can identify with that feeling.
McLaughlin, a full time pastor in St. Louis, counsels paramedics when they have a hard time dealing with their jobs.
"Sometimes they come across in a situation that's just too much and it hits home for whatever reason," McLaughlin said.
These folks also are being taught to have balance in their lives, something that's difficult to do when they are so busy helping others.
"We don't take care of ourselves, we're not good to anyone else," Anderson explained.
The next two days of the conference will focus on several topics including suicide intervention and managing a major incident.